Photos and stories about my expat experience in China, currently in Bejing.
See more pictures on:
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

My blog has moved!

Due to the restrictions of the Chinese government on this website, it is too much trouble to keep posting on this blog.

I have made a new blog, which you can find here:

http://guanxi.blog.com

Mijn blog is verhuisd, aangezien het te moeilijk is geworden om op deze websites te blijven schrijven. Zie bovenstaande link voor mijn nieuwe blog.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Misty days in Tianjin

2 Weeks ago the weather changed here. One day it was comfortable and warm, and the next day it snowed!

A while later the temperature rose to 1-2 degrees again, but there was a thick fog.




Visa run to Hong Kong

My current Chinese visa will expire on November 27th, and so I needed to extend it.

This is easily done through an agent in Beijing, and all I need for that is another entry stamp in my passport. (Technically I should leave the country and come back, then they can extend my visa 3, 6 or 12 months from the latest entry stamp.)

So, the cheapest and fastest solution is to go to Hong Kong.


I got up on a Friday morning at 6:00, left the house at 6:30 and took a bus to Tianjin train station (1 hour) and boarded a train to Beijing (30 minutes). Once there, I had to go to another train station which took me another 1 hour and two buses.

My train to Hong Kong left at 13:00 and I passed customs etc. The train took 26 hours and along the way I saw a lot of snow (in Henan province). Nothing more to do than listening to music and reading books.

I arrived in Kowloon at 15:00 or so and passed immigration. A group of people with doctor's uniforms stopped everyone and took their temperature. They also needed a health declaration. Soon though, I found myself outside the station in Hong Kong.

No time to waste, and so I bought a sandwich and a Coke and returned by subway to the border again. There, at Lo wu station, me and about a thousand other people had to get off and walk over a bridge and back into China. The immigration there was fast and easy, and at 16:30 I was in Shenzhen.


A friend who lives there had already bought a ticket for me to Tianjin, leaving at 20:00. After a nice dinner of goose meat and soup, I boarded the train again.

This train also took 26 hours and it was boring because there was nothing to do all day. Fortunately I had brought a thick Dostoevsky novel with me, and read nearly half of it.

I arrived back in Tianjin at 22:30 and took a bus back home. On Sunday night 23:00 I was finally back. All that for a stamp in my passport!


The next phase was to go back to Beijing and find that visa agent. Prices seemed to have changed a lot since last year. Then, I could get a 12 month visa for about 160 Euros, but now they emailed me with prices nearly tripled. (Due to the PRC's 60th anniversary this year I think). No choice though, and on Wednesday I went to look up the visa agent.

After taking photos and showing my residence permit, I managed to get a 6 month extension for only 110 Euros. My Tianjin residence permit doesn't work in Beijing, and so I had to cheat a bit and book a hotel for 10 days in Beijing, after which they gave me a Beijing permit. The next day I checked out and got my money back .

Why the visa was cheaper I don't know (but I'm glad). I should be able to pick it up in a week.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Birthday in Hunan

So I finally found a way around the nasty censorship of this website in China. Here are some photos of the 60th birthday of Chen Yi's mother, in rural Hunan province. It was a great party as usual, and I ate many unfamiliar things (as usual) including snake (and snake heart, snake blood) and turle-soup. I'll let the photos speak for themselves...



Auntie is washing the spicy peppers

A freshly caught snake (we ate snake 2 times)


Me and '66'. Chen Yi's little niece


After killing the snake


66 Playing with the fireworks


A snake in a bag (2 Kg)


Going fishing (for crabs, frogs and little fish)


Red envelopes containing money, presents at the party






On our way to the party. About 80 people came to the restaurant


Changsha train station in the morning


Cheering with rice wine


Drinking snake blood is supposed to be healty


Chen Yi, waiting for dinner

Another niece


A new government building is being built across the street. To be honest, it kind of looks like #$%

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New from China

In a little more than 1 week, the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC) will be celebrated, and once again this means a lot of security measures and blocking of websites. I went through a lot of trouble to post this message, as blogspot.com is blocked again.

I just came back from 1 week holidays in Hunan, to celebrate my girlfriend's mother's 60th birthday. It was a great party. We stayed in rural Hunan for 1 week, and had lots of fun.

Unfortunately, I can't post any photos at this time. I need to find another proxy to access blogspot an post pictures.

So stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Night photography in a park in Tianjin

Here are some photos my girlfriend made some night, in a park in Tianjin. The park is built on a small hill made from garbage. Now there are trees flowers.









Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tianjin

We moved to Tianjin on Monday, and have lived in our new place for a week now. Here are some photos:
View from our back window. We live on the 11th floor of an 'old' building (built in 1998). It is so old, that there are no cables for Internet. We have to use wireless.
View from our front window. After having lived in Beijing for nearly a year, it is so calm and quiet here :)


Our study room with balcony


We bought fish



Study room with computer




Bedroom


Bedroom


Bathroom


The living room
The decoration in our place is somewhat old fashioned, but this is much better than the newly built apartments, which all look like hotel rooms.

Kitchen



View from the kitchen


Living room


More fish


Our new birds. We bought a male and female couple, and hopefully have some eggs soon :)


Their favourite spot


They are always together





When we bought the birds, we got this kitten for free. A policeman, who was hanging around at the animal market, gave it to us for free.


I have been very busy this week with job interviews, and have already taught a few classes. I teach English to children, adults and business English class. The wages are very good here, because there are not so many foreigners in Tianjin. In Beijing are too many, so I couldn't find a teaching job there. Here there seems to be a big demand for foreign teachers.
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